Top 5: What are the Quietest RV Water Pumps – Noise Review

A quiet RV water pump can make all the difference to your enjoyment of being on vacation. Granted, it’s probably not super high on your list of priorities, but you’ll instantly notice a loud water pump when you switch to a quiet one.

In this article, I review my top picks for the quietest RV water pump. I’ll also look at some considerations for making your selection, so you can narrow down your choices.

Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have the perfect RV water pump for your next road trip. Before digging into the reviews, though, let’s look at why pumps make so much noise.

Why are RV Water Pumps Loud?

An RV water pump is loud because of how (and where) it works. Generally speaking, all kinds of pumps are loud unless designed otherwise. It’s due to them moving a fluid (in our case water) from one area to another by increasing the fluid’s pressure. This ends up requiring quite a lot of energy.

This is no less true for an RV water pump, which is often made louder by its placement, lack of insulation, and compact nature. Smaller pumps don’t have space for the kind of insulation that makes them quiet, meaning they’re usually on the loud side.

How Does an RV Water Pump Work?

To understand this in a bit more detail, let’s look at how an RV water pump works.

RV water pumps are typically diaphragm pumps that contain chambers and valves. The diaphragm runs off the pump motor, which creates suction in opposing chambers. These have valves to contain and then push the water as the diaphragm moves in and out. It’s essentially the same way your heart works.

The steps are as follows:

  • The diaphragm expands into one side of the water pump. This creates lower pressure, causing the outlet’s valve to close.
  • In turn, water is sucked into the chamber thanks to the difference in pressure.
  • This causes the pressure to increase, which closes the inlet valve and opens the outlet valve.
  • Steps 1-3 repeat on the other side of the pump due to the changes in pressure, and the cycle continues.

You can also get centrifugal pumps for use in RVs, but these aren’t as common. Typically, an RV water pump will be a diaphragm model that’s single-speed.

The water pump always includes an electric motor that will trigger the opening of the diaphragms. Check out this video to get an idea of how diaphragms successively open and push the water.

Because you’ll only use it when you don’t have a city water connection, water pumps aren’t designed to be super high demand. As such, they often have limited water flow rates and run times. Some, for example, can only operate for 5 minutes at a time.

Noise Sources in an RV Plumbing System

The main noise source in an RV water pump is the motor and, by extension, the diaphragm. Using a motor to maintain constant pressure and speed can lead to the pump pulsating, which is another source of noise.

Most of the noises you’ll hear coming from your RV pump are vibrational energy created by the motor chugging, which then passes into the structure of your RV. As such, creating a quiet RV water pump is as much about insulating it correctly as it is buying the right model.

Although the motor is a prime source of noise, you’ll often hear it vibrating through the pipes. This is particularly an issue with plastic (rigid) pipes, as they transfer vibrational energy easily. It’s why you’ll hear the noise coming from your taps even if the pump is hidden away under the RV.

One solution to this is a variable-speed pump. Similarly to AC units, a variable-speed motor means the pump can automatically control motor speed. It can then operate more slowly if needed, making it quieter. 

You can achieve a similar result by installing an accumulator tank. This is essentially a pressure buffer that stops the water pump from turning on and off as often.

We can’t really offer an acceptable decibel range for an RV water pump because it can depend on so many variables. For an example of what a pump sounds like operating normally, check out this pump troubleshooting video.

5 Quietest RV Water Pump

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll have many clear decibel ratings for RV water pumps for the reason mentioned above. However, this won’t stop me from suggesting my top picks for the best quiet water pump. We’ll just have to be a bit more creative with our research! 

1. Top Pick: ProGear 3200 RV Water Pump

  • Op. Pressure: 45 PSI
  • Max Flow Rate: 3.3 GPM
  • Run Dry: Yes
  • Backflow Valve: No
  • Shut-Off pressure: 45 PSI
  • Self-Priming: Yes (8ft. suction lift)
  • Inlet/Outlet fittings:
    1/2″ – 14 (TPI) flare female MNPT
    + 1/2″ – 14 (TPI) flare male adapter
  • Nb of diaphragms: 3
  • Power source: 12 V DC
  • Warranty: 2 years

The ProGear 3200 RV water pump is my top pick for best RV water pump because it’s rated highly for its noise levels. Its GPM is 3.3, which is marginally higher than others on this list. Also, it has an 8ft. vertical lift, which is 2ft. higher than the other entries.

Although not necessarily a major feature, this pump can be a direct replacement for more common models, so it should fit in most standard RVs. Of course, make sure you check the measurements and fittings, as these will be the clearest signs of compatibility.

The pump has a max operating pressure of 150 PSI, but it’s operating pressure is restrained to 45 PSI (limited by the shut-off feature). What it means for the user is that it reaches the pressure demanded faster than if it was a model with a max pressure of 45 PSI.

Also, it’s a self-priming, 3-diaphragm pump. We can regret the absence of a backflow valve, which is a useful feature to prevent contamination of your freshwater tank. But your system installation should already include one anyway.

Plenty of users state it’s easy to install, but perhaps the only downside is the price. However, for an almost universally compatible pump that’s commended for its noise levels, it’s arguably worth the price.

PROs
  • Positive ratings about quietness.
  • High max operating pressure.
  • High vertical lift.
CONs
  • On the expensive side.

2. Top Budget Pick: Seaflo 12V 3GPM Water Pump

  • Op. Pressure: 45 PSI
  • Max Flow Rate: 3.0 GPM
  • Run Dry: Yes
  • Backflow Valve: No
  • Shut-Off pressure: 45 PSI
  • Self-Priming: Yes (6ft. suction lift)
  • Inlet/Outlet fittings:
    1/2″ – 14 (TPI) flare male MNPT
  • Nb of diaphragms: 3
  • Power source: 12 V DC
  • Warranty: 4 years

The Seaflo 3GPM water pump isn’t necessarily a remarkable pump in terms of functionality, but it does the basics very well. Its flow rate is 3 gallons per minute, which is fairly standard for RV water pumps.

Its max operating PSI is 45, which is on the lower end of what you want. However, it’s still enough to give you decent water pressure, providing you don’t plan to push it too hard. For example, you might not want to operate more than one water source at once.

The pump is self-priming, which helps with setup and efficient operation. It can also run dry, which is another useful safety feature. In short, it prevents you from causing damage if your freshwater tank empties.

Plenty of reviewers state how quiet this pump is. Again, we don’t have a decibel rating, and without any, user feedback is the best indicator. On the other hand, some users state it’s not very powerful. This is perhaps why it’s so quiet: it’s not providing enough pressure to actually make it loud! But if you’re not too bothered by lower pressure, this pump is a good compromise.

PROs
  • Quiet operation.
  • Self-priming and thermal overload protection.
  • 2-year warranty.
CONs
  • Water pressure is a bit low.

3. RecPro RV Water Pump

  • Op. Pressure: 45 PSI
  • Max Flow Rate: 3.0 GPM
  • Run Dry: Yes
  • Backflow Valve: Yes
  • Shut-Off pressure: 45 PSI
  • Self-Priming: Yes (6ft. suction lift)
  • Inlet/Outlet fittings:
    1/2″ – 14 (TPI) flare male MNPT
  • Nb of diaphragms: 4
  • Power source: 12 V DC
  • Warranty: 3 years

The RecPro RV water pump comes with an optional silencer, which is ideal for our needs. The silencer kit includes flexible water pipes and also a strainer that’s designed to stop debris from entering the pump. While this isn’t completely necessary, it does at least reduce the chances of your pump breaking.

It has a maximum PSI of 150 and normal operating pressure of 45 PSI like the ProGear 3200. The flow rate tops 3 gallons per minute. These are both fairly standard measurements, as this pump can be used as a direct replacement for several base models. Plenty of users state it’s quieter than the pump it was replacing, particularly with the silencer attachment.

The pump has all the standard features you need, such as being self-priming, backflow and dry run protection. Also, it has low power draw (8A), meaning you can divert more battery power to things like your RV AC unit.

Some users reported difficulty sealing the silencer tubes properly. However, this appears to be a defect with the specific items rather than a product-wide issue, and RecPro replaced the broken parts. While it should be rare, bear this in mind if you get one that doesn’t work properly.

PROs
  • Comes with silencer attachment.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Backflow valve feature.
CONs
  • Some have been shipped with defective parts.

4. Flow Max Water Pump for RVs

  • Op. Pressure: 50 PSI
  • Max Flow Rate: 3.0 GPM
  • Run Dry: Yes
  • Backflow Valve: No
  • Shut-Off pressure: 50 PSI
  • Self-Priming: Yes
  • Inlet/Outlet fittings:
    1/2″ – 14 (TPI) flare male MNPT
  • Nb of diaphragms: NC
  • Power source: 12 V DC
  • Warranty: 1 year

This Flow Max water pump operates at 50 PSI, which is marginally higher than many others on this list. While a difference of 5 PSI doesn’t sound like much, it’s enough to give your taps a bit more force. You might not need this when washing up, but it’ll help when you’re having a shower!

Its motor is corrosion-resistant, always a plus when working with water. The same is true for the valves, and it also has a fitted screen to prevent debris from getting inside the pump. This is a helpful feature because it should prolong its lifespan.

As with other RV water pumps, it operates at 3GPM and has dry-run protection. This is for the 12V model, although the company also makes a 115V mains-connected version. The latter delivers the same pressure and flow but needs a higher voltage supply.

Users state it’s a very quiet pump and makes a noticeable difference compared to the ones it replaces. However, the manual states you can only operate it for 5 minutes at a time. This shouldn’t be an issue for something like washing up or flushing the toilet, but may become a problem if you want a shower. Again, it’s a minor issue, but it’s worth noting.

PROs
  • Operates at 50PSI.
  • Noted to be very quiet.
  • Debris screen fitted as standard.
CONs
  • Can only be run for 5 minutes at a time.

5. Seaflo Variable Flow Water Pump

  • Op. Pressure: 55 PSI
  • Max Flow Rate: 3.0 GPM
  • Run Dry: Yes
  • Backflow Valve: No
  • Shut-Off pressure: 55 PSI
  • Self-Priming: Yes (6ft. suction lift)
  • Inlet/Outlet fittings:
    1/2″ – 14 (TPI) flare male MNPT
  • Nb of diaphragms: 4
  • Power source: 12 V DC
  • Warranty: 4 years

This Seaflo pump is variable-speed. As mentioned, this can help to reduce noise levels because the pump doesn’t need to cycle. It can operate at lower speed, which can reduce vibrations.

In terms of actual performance, its flow rate is the same as most other water pumps: 3.0 GPM.
However, its PSI is 55, making it the most powerful on this list. So, while its GPM is the same as other pumps, the water flow will feel stronger thanks to its higher pressure.

Its other functional features are fairly similar to the ProGear. It’s self-priming up to 6ft., it can run dry, and it has bypass technology. The only reason it didn’t win top spot is that its GPM is lower. That said, compared to the other 3 GPM water pumps on this list, this Seaflo is a clear winner.

Some users state that the pump does still cycle at low flow, although you can never truly avoid this. Luckily, it’s very quiet when it does, as plenty of people state it’s barely noticeable when operating.

PROs
  • 55PSI is fairly strong.
  • Decent budget-friendly model.
  • Quiet operation.
CONs
  • Does still cycle when pressure is low.

What to Consider in Quiet RV Water Pumps

Choosing the correct water pump for your needs is based on more than just quiet operation. In fact, plenty of the factors listed below influence noise level. So, here’s what I recommend thinking about when picking quiet water pumps for an RV.

Water Flow Rate

A pump’s water flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). This, unsurprisingly, refers to how many gallons the pump can push out each minute. The industry standard is 3GPM, which should be fine for most standard-sized RVs.

For a larger RV, you’ll want to look at 4 or more. It’s more important for something like a shower than a faucet, although a higher GPM obviously means things will fill quicker.

Water Pressure

The other important factor is pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The maximum an RV’s water system can take is 70PSI, so you’ll want to aim lower than that.

Generally, 40-60PSI is a good range to stick within. This’ll give you decent water flow and pressure without putting too much strain on the system. Again, the exact PSI will depend on the size of your RV and the water demands.

Water pressure is linked to water flow, as it pushes the water through the pump and generates the flow rate as a result. Higher flow rate means higher pressure. However, it’s also linked to the size and length of your pipework, so it’s not a direct correlation. You could drop a lot of pressure with many pipe bends, which would result in a low flow when the water leaves the faucet.

Shutoff pressure

Shutoff pressure is a safety feature that stops the pump when the pressure measured at the pump outlet exceeds a certain value. In other words, when an obstruction happens at the pump outlet (no flow condition), the pump will shut off.

The standard shut-off pressure for RV water pumps is 45 PSI.

Self-Priming

A self-priming water pump is one that always stores a small amount of water in its chambers. Primarily, this prevents air pockets, which can damage a water system. It also improves efficiency, particularly for pumping water at height. This is because it maintains its pressure when working against gravity.

Power Supply

Almost all RV water pumps will operate on a 12V power supply, as this is what the RV’s battery provides. You can get 115V pumps that typically offer greater GPM, but these must be connected to some kind of mains electricity outlet.

The power draw on a standard water pump will range from 5 to 10 amps. Simply put, the more power a pump draws, the quicker it’ll run down a battery. Draw is directly correlated to GPM and PSI, as higher-volume pumps will use more power.

Dry-Run Protection

Dry-run protection prevents your water pump from breaking if there’s no water left in your tank. How it works isn’t particularly important; all you need to know is that it’s a helpful feature that’ll prolong your pump’s lifespan. Luckily, most RV water pumps have it.

Backflow Valve

A backflow valve is another fairly self-explanatory feature. It prevents water from reentering the pump after it’s been pushed out. This could happen due to changes in pressure or even from using a city water connection.

It helps prevent contamination in your fresh water tank from used/dirty water. In theory, the water in your tank should be fresh and drinkable, and a backflow valve will stop anything from newly-pumped water to toilet water from entering the tank.

Thermal Protection

Simply put, thermal protection causes the motor to shut off before any damage is caused by overheating. This happens if the environment is too hot or the pump has been running for too long.

Again, it’s a feature designed to prolong the pump’s lifespan. While it’s not vital, it certainly makes a difference if you plan to use the pump a lot or camp in warmer areas.

Fittings

RV water pumps unfortunately don’t have a standard fitting size. That said, the most common pipe size is half an inch. Ideally, your new pump should come with the necessary fittings for installation.

The easiest way to check is to see what pump you currently have in your RV. Buying from the same brand is a safe bet. But, failing that, look for models that state direct replacements (such as the RecPro model above). This’ll ensure you won’t have too much bother trying to fit the new pump.

Also, your pump will come with installation instructions. Generally, it shouldn’t be too complicated providing your fittings all match. If they don’t, you can usually get around this by using adaptors and some tape.

Warranty

Checking for a warranty on your new RV water pump should be a no-brainer. As for how long the warranty is, you’ll want at least 2 years. Some companies offer 4 years or more. The longer the warranty, the better protection you have against malfunctioning parts.

How to Quiet an RV Water Pump

If you don’t have the budget to buy a new water pump, or your new model isn’t performing as expected, here are some tips for making it quieter.

The first thing to note is that most of the noise produced by an RV pump comes from vibrations. The motor running sends vibrations into the RV, which are also transferred through hard pipes. This falls under impact noise, which you can learn more about here.

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to reduce impact sounds using the principle of dampening. So, let’s see what we can do about a noisy water pump.

1. Install a silencing kit

Flexible pipes in a silencing kit

You can buy actual silencing kits for RV water pumps. These consist of flexible piping that goes between the pump and your RV’s water pipes. They’re designed to reduce vibration and rattling noises, simply because they’re more flexible. This flexibility provides some dampening between the pump and other hard tubes/fittings.

You could also make your own using standard vinyl tubes, as this video shows.

2. Insulate the pipes

Another (cheaper) option is to put some foam insulation around the pipes immediately surrounding the pump. This helps to muffle and dampen the vibrational energy that passes into the rigid pipes.

Foam insulation for pipes

You can watch this video for a straightforward how-to.

3. Dampen the pump

Similarly, try putting the pump on a surface that’ll dampen any vibrations it might be sending into the structure. EVA foam tiles are a useful option for this.

EVA foam mat

If your water pump is mounted on brackets, you’ll still need to screw these in as normal. Remove the pump and the brackets, add some foam, and then replace everything. It should help make things quieter.

4. Make a baffle box

If noise levels are really bad, consider making a baffle box. This is essentially a box with sound-absorbing materials inside, which reduces noise pollution. You can find some instructions in my article on quietening generators.

However, this could mess with the pump’s thermal overload protection. Acoustic insulators are often great thermal insulators, too, so bear this in mind if you plan on filling the cavity around the pump with an absorptive material.

This video should give you a rough idea of how to do this.

5. Isolating the pump

Rather than dampening the pump, as in point 3, you could try isolating it completely. To do this, mount it on a plate slightly larger than the pump. You could use anything rigid, but aluminum would be a good choice because it’s water-resistant.

Then, mount the plate as normal where the pump should sit, but do so on rubber feet. This still works on the principle of dampening but also brings in the principle of decoupling, which is one of the most effective soundproofing methods.

Final Thoughts on Quiet RV Water Pumps

I hope you’ve now got enough information to go and pick a quiet RV water pump.

My top pick is the ProGear 3200 Water Pump. It offers decent pressure and GPM and plenty of other features. Importantly, it’s also pretty quiet.

Have you tried quietening an RV water pump? If so, I’d love to hear how you did it.

Ludovic
Ludovic
Ludovic uses his technical experience as a Mechanical Engineer to compile Soundproofing DIY guides. You’ll often find him breaking down complex topics to make it clearer for others. He also finds inspiration in sharing mindful habits.

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